Mark Burnett, Roma Downey to Keynote Family Entertainment and Faith-Based Summit

Duo created History Channel's Bible miniseries

It was at last year’s summit that Mark Burnett and Roma Downey revealed footage of “The Bible,” a 10-hour miniseries that wound up becoming a ratings juggernaut and the most purchased TV-on-DVD release of all time.

One year later, the creators say they are humbled to be this year’s keynote speakers. “There’s a real poetry to return to where the first scenes of The Bible were shown, when we got such a strong initial reaction from those who saw it,” says Downey, who also plays Mother Mary in the series. “It opened an opportunity for dialogue and for families to discuss faith.”

Downey adds the pair “wanted to provide a version of the Bible that had gritty realism and an emotional heartbeat … making it feel contemporary and appeal to a 21st century audience.”

Burnett and Downey were passionate about bringing the stories to all demos. “It was made for everybody,” he says. “There was a predominance of viewers who enjoyed the story but never read the Bible; others who went to Bible school and were thrilled to be reminded of their childhood.”

Both believe the series was successful because it captivated audiences as a testimonial of faith and literature that permeates all aspects of American culture. “The Bible is the underpinning foundation of the nation,” says Burnett. “Without the Bible there wouldn’t have been an America. (The Bible) is also the foundation of storytelling. Without the Bible there would be no Shakespeare, no ‘Lord of the Rings.’”

More Biz

  • Gary Levine and Jana Winograde Showtime

    Showtime, HBO Broaden Scope as Parent Companies Aim to Grow Their Audiences

    For years, the halo around premium cablers such as HBO and Showtime has been integral to their branding. Their parent companies in a past life — Time Warner and CBS, respectively — seemed to be content with the tens of millions of subscribers each had accumulated. But now, shepherded by new corporate owners — AT&T’s [...]

  • Debmar-Mercury Betting on Nick Cannon, 'Schitt's

    Listen: Why Debmar-Mercury Is Betting on Nick Cannon, 'Schitt's Creek' and Syndication

    They put their homes up as collateral to finance the business in its infancy more than 15 years ago. Today, Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein are getting ready to launch not one, but two new first-run series in the fall, adding to a roster that includes “The Wendy Williams Show” and “Family Feud.” [...]

  • Bob Chapek Disney CEO

    Why Wall Street Is Unhappy (for Now) With Disney's CEO Change

    We all knew the end was coming. Bob Iger had promised, time and again, that the end was coming. But the rather abrupt announcement Tuesday afternoon that he would relinquish his longtime role as CEO of the Walt Disney Co. — and that theme parks head Bob Chapek would succeed him at the top of [...]

  • Dau

    'Dau' Director Defends Controversial Russian Competition Film: 'It's Not Hollywood'

    “Dau. Natasha,” the Russian art project-turned-movie franchise competing at the Berlinale, has triggered headlines in the local and international press over the years due to its epic scale, scenes of graphic violence and anecdotes of an allegedly oppressive work environment for women. Hours before the film’s premiere at a presser on Wednesday, Ilya Khrzhanovsky, who [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content